This project will investigate the transformation of neuronal representations from stimuli to motor responses. A first step is to identify relevant informational patterns in spiking activity, following existing literature on e.g. rate modulation and spike synchrony [Churchland 2012, Shahidi 2019]. It then aims to formalize how the neuronal network dynamics with implements the input-output (stimulus-response) function, as a proxy for neuronal computations. To do so, it combines several theoretical fields, from stochastic dynamic systems to information theory, network theory and machine learning, as in previous work with effective connectivity for fMRI data [Gilson Net Neurosci 2020]. This model-based approach is key to test the interplay between the neuronal mechanisms, the network (effective) connectivity interplay and the spiking activity patterns. A specific focus will be on the role of the cortical layers (i.e. anatomical constraints for network structure). This framework will be applied to laminar electrophysiological recordings in monkeys performing a decision-making task, in the pre-motor and motor cortices that take part in the movement planning and execution.
The research will be conducted at the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT), in Marseille. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with the experimental team that collected the data. The Aix-Marseille University, the CNRS/INSERM laboratories and the APHM hospital center also offer a multidisciplinary environment for neuroscience. Projects range from behavior and cognition to neuropathologies, with strong interactions between the experimental and theoretical teams.